Amanda Ribas: Not Just Another Smiling Face

By: Christian Stein
Oct 27, 2021

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Ultimate Fighting Championship strawweight contender Amanda Ribas will look to bounce back from her first Octagon loss when she faces Virna Jandiroba this Saturday at UFC 267. Before she steps into the cage in Abu Dhabi, however, the endlessly cheerful 28-year-old sat down and talked to Sherdog about her overall career arc, her multiple bout cancellations due to COVID-19 and the lessons she has taken away from each of her two professional losses.

How are you feeling about your career at this point?
It makes me very happy to hear about how much the UFC fans enjoy my work. But for them to keep liking me, I need to keep showing my best performances inside the octagon. I’m training hard to make that happen. I have two losses in professional MMA. After each of them, I tried to learn useful lessons. One lesson is to maintain my guard when creating distance. And another is not to carelessly rush in, despite good results. In other words, I have to pay attention at all times. MMA is a beautiful sport. When you expect a punch, here comes a kick. When you expect a kick, here comes a takedown. Anything can happen at any moment.

Talk about your two bookings against Angela Hill being canceled, due to your contracting COVID.
“It was crazy. The first time I had COVID, it wasn’t too bad – a stuffy nose, a little loss of taste, and a sleepy feeling. The second time was a big surprise. It was fight week. We get tested all the time and it kept coming up negative. I started feeling mild cold symptoms. I figured it may have been the air conditioner. I tested positive. And I felt bad. My father and I both contracted it. I’m not sure where or how I caught it – if it was in the U.S. or in Brazil. We had to quarantine in my hotel room in Vegas. I lost my sense of taste. My body felt heavy. I lost my sense of smell. I had a headache, fever, and something showed up in a lung exam. I was very, very ready for that fight. Up to my weight cut, I was feeling OK. But everything happens for a reason. I wasn’t supposed to fight that time. Thankfully, I’m booked again. And it’s a good thing that I have a few sponsors to help with some bills.”

You’ll be facing a Brazilian opponent, Virna Jandiroba. How do you see yourself winning?
“It’s impossible to avoid Brazilian opponents in the UFC. There are so many of them. She comes from ground fighting but also has good striking. She had a war against Mackenzie Dern and beat Kanako Murata by TKO. So, I have to stay sharp. I’m training hard. I expect a fast-paced fight. I want to show my improvements since my last bout. I want to win by knockout!”

Talk about your training camp.
“My camp was done in my hometown of Varginha, Brazil, along with my father and brother. We have several sparring partners, but we also brought girls from other cities, to change things up. We should never get too comfortable. I got smashed in training so I can do my own smashing in the Octagon.”

What are your plans for the future?
“My plans are to win, and to win well. Especially since our weight class is so competitive, I have to be memorable not just in interviews, but in my cage performances. Then I’d like to ask for a higher-ranked opponent. And I’d like to fight once more this year.”

Anything else?
“I’m excited to fight in Abu Dhabi. I’ll be in my best possible shape, and I’ll be putting on a show. I can hardly contain myself. I want to win so everyone can see I’m not just another smiling face. By the way, I was very happy when so many people were asking for my return when I got sick.”

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